Pasion De Amor regains form


Pasion De Amor is back on track following a 71-65 win against erstwhile leader Makalaro Lang yesterday in their game in the 2015 Blue Haus/IT&E Inter-Color Basketball League at the Navy Hill court.

Pasion De Amor’s Rey Pestillos scoops up a layup against Makalaro Lang’s Greg De Leon during the first half of their game in the Blue Haus-IT&E caging yesterday at the Navy Hill court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Pasion De Amor’s Rey Pestillos scoops up a layup against Makalaro Lang’s Greg De Leon during the first half of their game in the Blue Haus-IT&E caging yesterday at the Navy Hill court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Pasion De Amor withstood Makalaro Lang’s repeated comeback bids to end its two-game skid and improve its record to 3-2. Makalaro Lang dropped to a 4-2 mark for a tie for second place with Wag Kang Pabebe and behind solo leader Oh My J (4-1).

Bart Demapan and Rey Pestillos hit clutch baskets in the homestretch for Pasion De Amor to survive Makalaro Lang’s last stand. The two combined for 8 of Pasion De Amor’s final 10 points, preventing Makalaro Lang from overhauling an 11-point deficit.

Makalaro Lang moved to within 4, 59-63, after launching an 8-0 run in less than two minutes. Greg De Leon sparked the rally as he got the shooter’s bounce off his 3-point attempt, while Ernie Moises made two layups and Ivan Devero added another point-blanked shot.

Bart Demapan bailed out Pasion De Amor as he sank a jump hook off an Elmer Esdrelon feed, while Nestor Arreza hit an open layup after a Devero airball on the other end, giving their team more cushion, 67-59, going into the two minutes of the match.

Down, but definitely not out, Makalaro Lang cut the deficit to 6 off a quick shot from Errol Peredo, but Pestillos countered with a turnaround jumper to keep Pasion De Amor’s safe distance, with 1:25 left in the match.

With the clock ticking and still behind by 8, Makalaro Lang was pressured to score more and responded to the challenge with Devero making up for his earlier booboo with a jumper and Raymond Velasco connecting on a drive to bring the lead down to 4 again, 69-65. Makalaro Lang had a chance to move close after a missed layup from Pasion De Amor, but Devero muffed a layup and a putback off a Velasco wayward drive.

The successive misses sealed the doom for Makalaro Lang, as Pasion De Amor made a basket on the other end off a fastbreak layup from Pestillos.

Pestillos finished with 18 points, matching Chris Arreza’s production, while Demapan led Pasion De Amor with his 20 points. Demapan had 11 in the first half, which ended with Pasion De Amor holding on to a 32-25 advantage. Pasion De Amor had a 7-0 windup in the first 20 minutes of play to spoil Makalaro Lang’s initial comeback attempt.

Pasion De Amor then widened the gap to as much as 13 early in the second half, 47-34, behind the 3-point shooting of Esdrelon. However, Makalaro Lang refused to give up and won the next exchange, 18-8, with Peredo teaming up with Devero to trim the deficit to 3, 52-55, with still eight minutes left in the match.

Pasion De Amor sued for time and when the game resumed it launched an 8-0 run capped by Demapan’s basket in the paint to bring the lead back to double digits, 63-52, before Makalaro Lang rallied anew and fell short in the end.

Pasion De Amor 71 – Demapan 20, C. Arreza 18, Pestillo 18, Esdrelon 6, N. Arrezo 1.

Makalaro Lang 65 – Peredo 21, Devero 14, Moises 11, Velasco 10, Buenabajo 4, De Leon 3, Morales 2.

Scoring by halves: 32-25, 71-65

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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